2013: The Philippines’ Annus Horribilis

At the midpoint year of the term of President Benigno S. Aquino III (PNoy, or ‘B.S.’ for judgmental critics) comes to a close, the whole Philippines and its people flipped the situations topsy-turvy on the outgoing year. The passing year, Timow’s Blog believed it was a horrible year than the past years of Noynoy’s term, or in Latin, annus horribilis.

The Priority Development Assistance Fund Scam

The P 10-billion pork barrel scam, allegedly led by Janet Lim-Napoles, was ignited by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on July 12, 2013. The scandal was allegedly done mostly by the former Senate President (now Minority Leader) Juan Ponce Enrile, Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada with their corresponding codenames “Tanda,” “Pogi” and “Sexy.” On National Heroes’ Day, August 26, the Million People March was assembled in all key cities of the country denouncing the great robbery and the pork barrel system. Though, it failed to reach a literal one million protesters, few meetups were subsequently assembled in EDSA Shrine (Sept. 11) and Makati City (Oct. 4).

The three linked senators responded that they are not guilty for the crime they made: Jinggoy’s speech (especially the attack of a congressman and its link with Jollibee) and Enrile’s ad hominem speech against Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The Senate Blue Ribbon Committee made several open live meetings with the whistleblowers in connected with Mrs. Napoles, including Mr. Benhur Luy, and asked where did our money goes. The most vigilant of the meeting was of the mastermind herself, on November 7. Mrs. Napoles responded, “I don’t know” and “I invoke my right against self-incrimination,” claiming her innocence of the crime despite of the obvious response of the citizenry’s guilty verdict.

Twelve days after Napoles’ hearing, the Supreme Court declared PDAF unconstitutional, 14-0-1. Making the budget for the succeeding years, kosher in Congress but not for the Presidency. Nonetheless, the linked legislators remained in the liberty in the land and going above the laws of the land.

Double disasters of doom

On the morning of October 15, a magnitude 7.2 triggered Bohol and Cebu crushing the centuries-old churches and some Chocolate Hills. It accrued 222 lives and 976 injuries on a Muslim holiday. Had not become a holiday or on a Sunday, the quake’s casualties could have been larger.

However, the recovery in Bohol and Cebu cannot made it on time when Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) entered the country less than a month later. With a wind speed of 315 km/h, the super typhoon is exceptionally the most intense meteorological phenomenon ever hit in the 21st century. Most significant damages stretched and commonly mentioned from Tacloban to Coron, Palawan. According to the NDRRMC, about 6,000+ in casualties are recorded, twice than the estimates of the Chief Executive.

Slow response of rehabilitation and mangling foreign aid into sardines and Ma Ling by DSWD made P-Noy called “Disaster President. ” His would-have-been Vice President, Secretary of Interior and Local Government Mar Roxas, made a slip of a tongue against Tacloban mayor Alfred S. Romualdez, on the recovery and rehabilitation of Tacloban, implying hegemony of the national government in assisting the people rather than concurrence and compromise.

The media is severely not immune on the aftermath of the disaster. Despite the praises of Atom Araullo’s bravery on covering the storm on November 8, ABS-CBN News’ pillar, Korina Sanchez, counterbalanced the network’s news policy. When credible CNN’s Anderson Cooper, said the foreign aid “hadn’t arrived.” The wife of Roxas criticized Cooper of “not knowing what he is saying.” Cooper retorted that she should come to Tacloban and see for herself. The journalism’s mortal sin of taking personal interest is not Sanchez’s first misdemeanor since the description of Vice President Jejomar Binay.

The War in Zamboanga

The September standoff in Zamboanga City shocked the lack of preparation by the troops of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Before the war, the Bangsamaro Republik declared its “independence” on August 12, while the Bangsamoro Substate is under negotation. However, the Republik is not recognized by the National Government nor is yet recognized by the United Nations. From September 9, the aim of the MNLF-Misuari Faction is to raise the flag of the Bangsamoro Republik on the Zamboanga City Hall but their plot fail after 19 days. Vice President Binay wanted to help stop the conflict but failed and got mocked by the netizens.

The year 2013 has been a hell of a year but still, what will New Year 2014 bring to our country? A worsening year ahead? A hopeful one? Let’s all wait and see about it.

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